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Fans of the long-running NCIS franchise should be happy to know that there are not one, two but three new DVD releases.

First up is the 16 episode 18th season of the flagship “NCIS” series which revolves around the Naval Criminal Investigative Services team (which investigates U.S. Navy and Marine Corps crimes). The season is an eventful one as it contains the landmark 400th episode where we see how Gibbs (played by star mark Harmon) first met Ducky, the departure of 2 stars (Maria Bello who plays Dr. Sloane and Emily Wickersham who plays Ellie Bishop), and pivotal plots involving a drug ring, COVID-19, Gibbs being suspended, and a killer targeting Gibbs.

Despite a shortened season due to the pandemic, there’s no shortage of drama here. While some fans may be put off by the amount of character losses and or departures in this overall darker season, it does however shake-up the series. For a season that’s run 18 years, it’s healthy to have change especially with a show that relies so heavily on an age old formula. Sure, you still get the same old murder investigation of the week episodes here if that’s what you enjoy watching, but, to me, it was refreshing to see higher stakes storylines.

Extra features include commentary on “Everything Starts Somewhere” by Steven Binder, Sean Harmon, and Adam Campbell” and on “Winter Chill” by Brian Dietzen and Scott Williams and 4 featurettes on the 400th episode, Maria Bello’s farewell, the 18th season and shooting the season during the pandemic.

Next there is the 18 episode season 12 of “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Much like “NCIS,” this season sees the departure of 2 main cast members with the departure of Barrett Foa (Eric) and Renee Felice Smith (Nell). Elsewhere this season, expect stories involving Russian criminals, trials, killers, Deeks becoming a NCIS agent, murder investigations, the return of fan favorite character Hetty (played by Linda Hunt) and a sociopath obsessed with Kensi. Of course, there’s plenty of material with the show’s leads Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Sam Hanna (LL Cool J).

By this point, you should know what to expect from “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Aside from some surprising cast announcements, it’s a typical NCIS program with action, character drama, villains, murder investigations, what have you. It’s not challenging TV. It’s the type of procedural program you’ve come to expect from CBS Network TV. If you’ve followed the show this far then I assume season 12 will be up your alley. I can’t imagine anyone else coming into the show during season 12. It’s for the longtime fans.

Extras include deleted/extended scenes, a season 12 featurette, a featurette on star Daniela Ruah directing an episode, and a commentary by Daniela Ruah.

Lastly, there is the 16 episode seventh and final season of “NCIS: New Orleans.” Along with the standard murder investigation plots, expect stories about COVID-19, a marriage, Dwayne’s ex Callie and their son Connor, Hannah and Carter becoming close, and more. 

Although it may not have had the popularity that “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” had, “NCIS: New Orleans” still had a devoted fanbase. For those fans, this final season should satisfy you as there are payoffs with character dynamics and a sense of some closure for the series as a whole. Naturally, there are plenty of murder investigation plots for those that love the procedural formula. There’s also a fair bit of real world issues that make their way into the show to make it more grounded. 

Personally speaking, Scott Bakula (Dwayne Pride) and C.C.H. Pounder (Loretta Wade) really elevate the show as a whole. Their veteran presence and acting abilities make what is an otherwise formulaic series watchable. 

Note: If you’re bummed about this show ending, worry not as a brand new NCIS series titled “NCIS: Hawaii” is being released Sept. 20.

Extras include featurettes on season 7, the end of an era, and Dwayne and Rita.

Each show is presented in 16:9 with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

September 11, 2021 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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